Over Christmas, Jim and I scored a modest and unexpected coup, when we were honoured to be asked by Laurie Lamson, an editor at Penguin/Tarcher, to each contribute to a collection of writing exercises by authors anthologized under the title, Now Write! (for more information, check out: http://nowwrite.net/ ). Other participants include some very accomplished figures, among them writers such as Ursula LeGuin and Ray Bradbury. Our pieces have been submitted and accepted, with the anthology due to be published sometime in 2013. In his exercise, entitled “More Than Words Can Say”, Jim talks about the need for a writer of fiction to discover what he calls the “body-voice” of a character, i.e. his or her mannerisms, habitual gestures, posture, facial expressions, and physical quirks, to name but a few of the things that make up “body-voice”. My own exercise—its title, “In Xanadu… Grounding the Fantastic”, is an allusion to English Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s famous poem “Kubla Khan”—looks at the need for the writer of speculative fiction to apply the touchstone of grounded reality to his or her work. More about this in a further blog.